The Shack

Author: 
Young, William Paul

Mackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.

Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever. (From the publisher.)

Discussion Guide: 

1. How did reading this book affect your faith? Does it change, challenge, strengthen your image of God? Why is God portrayed as a woman, what reasons does God give Mack?

2. Does God answer convincingly the reason for the trinity?

3. Does the idea of God a character in the book, or God's first-person voice, bother you...or does it work within the context of The Shack's story?

4. Why did God let Missy die? Do you think The Shack answers convincingly the central question of theodicy, the existence of evil—or why, if there is a God, bad things happen to good people?

5. What does The Shack say about forgiveness—toward the self or toward those who have wronged you.

6. Young has been criticized for advocating lawlessness (p. 122) ...or universalism (p. 225)? Do you think that is a fair or unfair criticism?

7. Many readers find the first 4 chapters of The Shack almost too painful to read. Could they have been written in a way that would be less painful—without changing the book's message?

8. Does the book's ultimate message satisfy you? Is it possible to let go of control and certainty in life? Is it possible to live only in the present?

(Questions by LitLovers)